Asian Art Museum Design & Branding ASIAN ART MUSEUM by Wolff Olins

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Industry Museums & Libraries
Media Design & Branding
Market United States
Agency Wolff Olins
Released September 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Consumer Services
Product/Service: MUSEUM
: Jordan Crane (Wolff Olins)
: Nick O'Flaherty (Wolff Olins)
: Sam Wilson (Wolff Olins)
: Jeannie Servaas (Wolff Olins)
: Melissa Scott (Wolff Olins)
: Chris Sherron (Wolff Olins)
: Beth Kovalsky (Wolff Olins)
: Kris Pelletier (Wolff Olins)
: Michele Miller (Wolff Olins)
: Alicianne Rand (Wolff Olins)
Media placement: Museum Experience, Signage And Wayfinding - San Francisco, CA - September 2011- Ongoing

Describe the brief from the client
Despite being positioned as a geographic and cultural authority on Asian art and culture in the US, the Asian Art Museum still struggled to capture awareness and fully connect with visitors beyond their niche audience. In 2009, however, they appointed a new director with a groundbreaking vision and revitalised ambition to become the world's most dynamic Asian art and cultural museum. We were attracted by the museum’s ambitious mission and desire to build a brand to unlock the potential of its vast collection and thought leadership.

Describe the challenges and key objectives
In early 2010, we partnered with the Asian Art Museum to create a new brand strategy and identity. Together, we helped translate their vision into an actionable tool, focus decision-making and drive meaningful change. We challenged staff and board members to fundamentally shift their perspective – from thinking of the museum as a home for ancient objects in Lucite boxes to a thought-provoking experience that awakens audiences to the beauty and depth of Asian art and culture.

Describe how you arrived at the final design
Using the brand strategy as a foundation, we created a bold and provocative new brand identity for the museum. The new logo, an upside down ‘A’, signifies their commitment to offer a fresh and creative perspective on a collection spanning 6,000 years. As the mathematical symbol for ‘all’, the logo also tells the world that the museum has something to say and something to show. The transparent logo allows the art and collections to "inspire the next" – encouraging dialogue and debate and paving the way for new art, new thinking and new ideas.

Give some indication of how successful the outcome was in the market
The Asian Art Museum officially debuted the brand identity with the launch of a new exhibition, Maharaja, Fall 2011. Already, the strategy has helped to reinvigorate staff and board members with a renewed sense of purpose. It has also helped them begin to transform their visitor experience and rethink the content and design of their exhibitions, programs and communications. Beyond visual expression, the new brand will transform the visitor experience over time to create new ways of connecting the collection and the community ultimately leading to more visitors and support for its vision.